Wild Wellbeing - Staying Active

The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation, offer a helpful framework for connecting to nature. This week we’re focusing on staying active.

Right now, connecting to nature, and taking some time out is more important than ever, but knowing what to do can be daunting, especially if you’re not able to leave your house. The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation, offer a helpful framework. This is week four of my wellbeing blog, giving you helpful tips and tricks to take time out, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are. This week we’re going to focus on staying active.  

Being, and staying, active is good for us. Regularly raising your heart rate to a point where you feel out of breath not only increases your physical health, but it also helps halt cognitive decline. Exercising outdoors has been shown to have a greater impact on our mental and physical wellbeing than exercising indoors. The Wildlife Trusts own research on the health and wellbeing impacts of volunteering shows that volunteering with the Trusts for just 12 weeks can have a significant impact on wellbeing. We also know that exercising is the main reason people cite for visiting greenspace. The Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) research, which has been conducted for the last 10 years, shows a steady increase in the number of people citing that they visit greenspace for exercise, making it the number one reason for visiting by the time the last survey was conducted in 2019. So, put simply, a walk outside is beneficial for our health, especially if you combine being active with the other ways to wellbeing I’ve talked about in previous blogs, taking notice (especially of nature) and connecting with others in your household. What else can you do to stay active, both physically and mentally? The usual list, whether you’ve got a minute or an hour, is below.

If you've only got a minute...

  • Meditate- you can do this using various apps if you want a guided meditation, but if you’re new to it (like me) I find just a minute stood at a open window with my eyes closed is enough to refresh my mind and bring me back to the present. It’s especially refreshing on a rainy day.
  • Sign up for 30 Days Wild in June. 30 Days Wild is a fun, feel-good challenge run by The Wildlife Trusts every June. Back for its sixth year, it brings people closer to nature where they live, taking small actions that can collectively have a big impact! Signing up will give you access to a digital pack, full of ideas to do each day.

Sign up here

If you've got 5 minutes or more...

  • Do a wild workout. You could try jumping like a frog, curling up like a hedgehog or flapping your wings like a bird. Or if you fancy something a bit slower, try animal yoga.
  • Garden (indoors or outdoors)- tending to plants, even if you don’t get your heart rate up with rigorous weeding or digging, is good for our health. Remember keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping your body active. Dreaming of what you might do with your garden, balcony or window box next year, getting out the books, hunting down the catalogues and making a plan of action is a great way to keep your mind active.
Wildlife Yoga

If you've got an hour or more...

  • Try your indoor exercise with some added nature. You can find a whole range of wildlife videos and soundscapes on YouTube to exercise too. You can even go on virtual runs through some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. 
  • Make something for wildlife. Me and my husband have been building a bug hotel from scraps of wood and things we found in our shed and garden. Carrying and cutting the wood, plus moving all the pieces from the back to the front garden kept us active for quite a few hours (see our efforts in the photo below). Digging a pond is also a great way to stay active, we’ve heard from so many colleagues and supporters who are building ponds in their gardens! 
Becky's insect hotel

© Becky Fisher

As always, we love to hear from you, what you’re up to and how you’re connecting to nature. Share your photos and thoughts with us via all our social media platforms or by emailing wilder@hiwwt.org.uk.